Climate News of the Week Roundup: Ocean Researchers Disagree with IPCC – It’s Even Worse

This week’s roundup covers a report by ocean experts saying that the situation of the world’s oceans is even more dire than the IPCC says, an analysis saying that contrary to recent media reporting the IPCC’s temperature projections have actually held up pretty well, the Australian Climate Comission getting resurrected by citizen crowdfunding, ICAO agreeing to agree something about aviation emissions by 2016, an examination of the drivers behind the rapid global scale-up of solar, China trying to reign in coal, solar records in China, India and Germany, legacies from the Nazi era still doing damage in Germany, an argument that public investment is crucial for the necessary infrastructure transformation and that carbon pricing is hence helpful but not sufficient, and more.

Ocean acidfication impacts ‘worse than thought’ say scientists. Alex Kirby reports for RTCC that ocean researchers disagree with the new IPCC report that came out last week. They say the situation of the oceans is actually even worse. A review by the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) says the impacts of warming such as decreasing oxygen levels are progressing much faster than previously predicted. In addition, the oceans absorb a substantial share of humanity’s CO2 emissions and are in consequence becoming ever more acidic, which has various negative impacts on marine life.

IPCC model global warming projections have done much better than you think. Dana Nuccitelli says that contrary to what many have claimed in recent months, global warming since 1990 has actually fallen within the range of IPCC climate model projections. According to him, the claims that climate models had failed to predict the temperature trend of the last decade were based on a flawed early draft of the new IPCC report and cherry picking of data.

New climate body raises nearly $1m in donations. These are the things that make me keep a positive outlook. New Australian Prime Minister made axing the Climate Commission, which was set up by the previous Labor government to provide public information on climate change, one of his first acts of office. Ben Schneiders reports for the Sydney Morning Herald that crowdfunding to re-instate it raised nearly $1million in less than a week.

UN aviation emissions deal strikes harsh blow to EU trading scheme. Sophie Yeo reports for RTCC that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) agreed to work out a global market-based mechanism to address aviation emissions by 2016, which is supposed to be implemented starting in 2020. However, the agreement also stipulates that the EU ETS may only cover intra-EU flights. If it wants to cover other flights, it may only do so with the consent of the other country. This basically disembowels the EU’s aviation ETS legislation. The NGO Transport & Environment argues that there is no guarantee that an effective scheme will be agreed in 2016 and that the EU should therefore press forward with its own.

7 Reasons The Solar Revolution Is For Real. Rob Wile summarises the driving factors of the ongoing solar scale-up for  Business Insider Australia: Concern about climate change; increasing oil and gas prices; more than half of the US federal states establishing renewable portfolio standards, sixteen of which have specific requirements for solar; everybody in the US getting ordered to get net metering, which allows homeowners to sell electricity back to their utility; substantial incentives in the US stimulus package; strong European feed-in tariffs, which prompted China to rapidly ramp up manufacturing capacity; and the resulting rapid reduction of equipment costs.

China sets cap on coal portion. Reuters reports that China aims to cut total coal consumption to below 65 per cent of total primary energy use by 2017. Measures include ramping up other energy sources, closing down outdated capacity, and stopping to approve new thermal power plants in key industrial areas.

Deutsche Banks says China solar PV may reach 15GW in 2014. Deutsche Bank seems to be making it a habit to make bullish forecasts for solar PV. Sophie Vorrath reports that a new Deutsche Bank report says China may add 13-15 GW of solar PV in 2014 and reach a total of more than 50GW by 2016. Deutsche Bank recently projected similar figures for the US (see previous post).

Electricity utilities could lose half their market to solar and storage. Giles Parkinson reports on a new Citigroup analysis that says that traditional utilities in industrialised countries could lose half their market to solar and storage within the next two decades. And people wonder why they don’t like solar.

India’s Ultra-Mega Solar Plant to Sell Record-Low Power. Bloomberg reports that India is about to put in place a solar plant with a record-breaking size – 4GW – that will deliver power at record-breaking price – $89 per MWh, which is 66 eurocents per kWh.

German solar feed-in tariff edges below 10 cents. reports (in German) that the feed-in for large-scale solar installations dropped below 10 cents on 1 October. The tariff is decreased each month, partly depending on the speed of capacity additions.

WW II-Era Law Keeps Germany Hooked on ‘Brown Coal’ Despite Renewables Shift. Renewables are booming in Germany, but so is lignite-based power production. Peter Friederici notes that one factor is a law passed in 1937 that basically allows mining firms to relocate entire villages at will.

4/5 of Germans want to get to 100% renewables as soon as possible. But they want the costs to be distributed fairly. That’s what an opinion survey (file in German) done by Germany’s respected Emnid Institute says.

The Price is Wrong. Gar Lipow had a long piece on Grist arguing that carbon pricing is no silver bullet. One key point is that we not only need to change individual installations, we need to change our entire energy and transport infrastructure, and public investment in one form or another has always been crucial for transformational infrastructure investment.


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